Photo of Keiji Numata Keiji Numata
September 20 (Wed) at 13:30 - 15:00, 2023 (JST)
  • Keiji Numata (Professor, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University)
Tsukasa Tada

Our Material DX research project ( is dedicated to addressing challenges in the design and synthesis of polymeric materials. Our primary objective is to establish a comprehensive material research and technical platform built upon a polymer database. Our efforts center on the creation and advancement of bioadaptive materials featuring biological functionalities and physical properties.1,2 Within the domain of polymer science, the integration of material informatics (MI) for establishing correlations between material structure and properties, along with the utilization of extensive databases, has not witnessed substantial advancement in recent times.

Structural protein such as spider silk is an eco- and bio-friendly polymer as well as one of the key factors to realize the unique properties and functions of natural tissues and organisms.3,4 However, use of structural proteins as structural materials in human life is still challenging. Spider silks are among the toughest known materials and thus provide models for renewable, biodegradable and sustainable biopolymers. However, the entirety of their diversity still remains elusive, and silks that exceed the performance limits of industrial fibers are constantly being discovered. We obtained transcriptome assemblies from 1,098 species of spiders to comprehensively catalog silk gene sequences and measured the mechanical, thermal, structural, and hydration properties of the dragline silks of 446 species.5 The combination of these silk protein genotype-phenotype data revealed essential contributions of multicomponent structures in high-performance dragline silks as well as numerous amino acid motifs contributing to each of the measured properties. We hope that our global sampling, comprehensive testing, integrated analysis and open data will provide a solid starting point for future biomaterial designs.


  1. Keiji Numata, Biopolymer Science for Proteins and Peptides, Elsevier (2021)
  2. Ali D. Malay, Hamish C. Craig, Jianming Chen, Nur Alia Oktaviani, and Keiji Numata, Complexity of Spider Dragline Silk, Biomacromolecules 23, 5, 1827–1840 (2022), doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.1c01682
  3. Ali D Malay, Takehiro Suzuki, Takuya Katashima, Nobuaki Kono, Kazuharu Arakawa, Keiji Numata, Spider silk self-assembly via modular liquid-liquid phase separation and nanofibrillation, Science Advances, 6, 45, eabb6030 (2020), doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abb6030
  4. Nur Alia Oktaviani, Akimasa Matsugami, Ali D. Malay, Fumiaki Hayashi, David L. Kaplan & Keiji Numata, Conformation and dynamics of soluble repetitive domain elucidates the initial β-sheet formation of spider silk, Nature Communications 9, 2121 (2018), doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-04570-5
  5. Kazuharu Arakawa et al., 1000 spider silkomes: Linking sequences to silk physical properties, Science Advances 8 (41) eabo6043 (2022), doi: 10.1126/sciadv.abo6043

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